Pat Cassedy began working at Cas-Ker when he was 16 as a part-time employee. His family owned the wholesale distributor of watch supplies and, as the third generation to work there, he would have to earn his stripes the same way everyone else did. Oh, he tried working outside the industry when he was in college, but that didn’t last long.
“I resigned from Cas-Ker when I was in college because I’d found a job making more than what my dad was paying me. I wanted more money,” recalls Pat. “What I found was a job with long hours that was physically tough. I worked there for a year until I asked my dad if I could come back. He willingly gave me my job back, but wouldn’t start me back at my former salary. Instead he said, ‘We hire all of our new help at minimum wage.’ I never left again.”
Pat grew to love the jewelry industry just like the generations of family before him. He became involved in several jewelry trade organizations and, after working with his father developed a deeper love and respect for both the man and the industry.
“One of my fondest memories is working with my dad for 15 years. We really learned a lot about each other and I learned to respect him in a way I never had before,” states Pat.
Pat’s brothers Dan (now secretary of Cas-Ker) and Thomas (now president) also joined the business in the seventies, and the men focused their attention on creating a company built around customer service and a large inventory that could be shipped at a moment’s notice. Having three siblings running the company might seem a little, well, off-balance, but that’s exactly what Pat said made it easy.
“Three votes simplifies things a whole lot,” he states. “We made better decisions because we were three. There were never any ties, and if one was voted down, then he would graciously step back and honor the decision that had been made.”
Pat became president of Cas-Ker and, over the course of his career, has seen a lot of changes within the industry. He embraced the changes and learned to go with them instead of fight them, which wasn’t always easy.
“The moment the Internet and technology exploded it changed the way all industries did business. We had to figure it out and move with it instead of fight it.”
He also remembers when gold fluctuated to unprecedented prices and retailers felt out of control over that critical piece of their business, calling that ‘one of the scariest times’ in his career.
But Pat is finding there is life after 40 years of working at the family business. He’d been thinking about retiring for a while when he approached his brothers and they worked out the details. Now he has more time for his grandchildren and his hobbies, like snow skiing, fishing, golf and camping.
“I hate to leave all of the wonderful people at Cas-Ker and within the industry. These people are like family to me and I will miss them, but I was ready to make a break from the businesses and have more free time to spend with my family.”
Everyone at Southern Jewelry News wishes you well Pat.
You can reach Cas-Ker at 800-487-0408 or www.Casker.com.